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You should see the other guys: How smartphones advanced since the last iPhone update

Philip Michaels | Sept. 10, 2014
We've made an entire circuit around the globe since the last time Tim Cook unveiled a new smartphone. What have other phone makers been doing since then? And how will that inform what Apple announces at Tuesday's big event?

What's happened since: Samsung followed suit with a fingerprint scanner of its own in the Galaxy S5. It's not a particularly good implementation, but Samsung did advance the ball a little bit by allowing participating apps to tap into the fingerprint scanner. That's something you couldn't do with an iPhone (at least, not yet).

Samsung also figured out other ways to put your fingers to work with the S5. It added an integrated heart motion onto the back of the phone: place an index finger on the sensor with the included S Health app running, and you can measure your beats per minute. There are some implementation issues (not the least of which is, the super-sized Galaxy S5 isn't the most compact exercise companion), but it's an advance that reduces the need for a separate fitness tracker.

What Apple might do: Remember how I said you couldn't use the TouchID sensor with other apps? That's going to change with iOS 8, which will allow apps to unlock themselves with the touch of a verified fingerprint. iOS 8 also features a new app called Health, powered by a set of tools called HealthKit that will collect your personal health data. HealthKit is designed to work with connected medical devices, which could include Apple's rumored smartwatch... or even a new iPhone.

 

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